I used to rent a studio in Greenpoint where I had the opportunity to get to know the artist Jess Fuller. I was stoked to head to Clinton Hill the other week to visit her very spacious live-in studio. Her work and materials took up nearly every part of the apartment, hanging from the walls, made into mountainous-like piles in the corners, and organized factory style on the floor awaiting their next step of production. It made the place feel more like an installation than home or studio. As I was introduced to her lovely cat Buster, we sat down to have the tacos that she had prepared for us. It was a soft fall evening and as we put away our dishes and got out our respective art materials, Jess began to walk me around the place, sharing with me her studios' most recent developments. She was preparing to ship her work to Denmark for a two person show with Sam Moyer at Galleri Tom Christoffersen that opens December 2. She is also currently in a group show at SOUTHFIRST in Williamsburg.
Jess' current work wonderfully embraces and wrestles with one of the most common materials used in painting: the canvas. She delves into this historic fabric, meticulously tearing it apart with a gentle hand, freeing it from its usual two dimensional form and allowing it to arrive, anew, three dimensionally. Many things come to mind when looking at the "marks" she has left; they might create a downward swooping gesture (as though the piece is taking in an exuberant breath), or form a pendulous open-mouthed grin, or mimmic torn skin where letters are spelled out from the scarring left behind. While I was there Jess was sitting in front of her couch methodically pulling away thread after thread from the center of a small sheet of canvas. This is just one of the many steps she takes in arriving at her works. Before she begins this part of the process Jess adds pigment to the material, canvases might be fully coated (as in the large black piece that hung ominously in room behind us), or hit with hints of color, as a wink to the minimalist gesture. Jess then puts it through a wash at the local laundromat to further frey the edges and distress the color.
Photo I took at the group show TEXT/IMAGE at SOUTHFIRST
SOUTHFIRST and check back with Pencil in the Studio soon, I will post some pictures here of the show at Galleri Tom Christoffersen .